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Harris County Teens Take Home 1,587 Awards as HCDE’s Regional Winners of Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Winners hail from 17 Harris County ISDs, private, charter, home schools Winners, celebrations posted at

Leah Bydalek, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, earned regional awards via Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition 2013 through Harris County Department of Education and advanced to national acclaim as an art portfolio Gold Key medalist. Last summer she walked across Carnegie Hall in New York City to receive her $10,000 scholarship award among a select 17 national art portfolio winners.

From a teenage writer expressing her feelings about cancer through prose to a young artist depicting his view of the world through charcoal sketches, the accomplishments of 1,587 teens in Harris County who are regional winners of Scholastic Art & Writing Awards 2014 won’t go unnoticed. As regional coordinator for the 91-year-old Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Harris County Department of Education celebrates student talent from 17 Harris County Independent School Districts and multiple private, charter and home schools through multiple ceremonies in February.

Winners of the awards in both writing and art genres hail from Harris County districts, including Aldine, Alief, Clear Creek, Crosby, Cypress-Fairbanks, Deer Park, Galena Park, Goose Creek, Houston, Huffman, Humble, Katy, Klein, Pasadena, Spring Branch, Spring, and Tomball. Charter schools are KIPP public schools and Harmony public schools.  Private schools are Annunciation Orthodox, Duchesne Academy, Episcopal High, First Baptist Academy, Houston Christian High, River Oaks Baptist, St. Agnes Academy, St. John’s School, Second Baptist, St. Thomas Episcopal, The Bannff School, The Branch School, The Post Oak School, The Kinkaid School, and The Village School.  Several home school students are also winners.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards provides teen artists and writers in grades 7-12 with the opportunity to showcase their work as it identifies and documents their outstanding achievements.  The competition’s mission is to bring outstanding visual art and writing to a national audience by showcasing work and encouraging young students’ creative journeys and career development.  Former winners include John Updike, Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates, Zac Posen John Lithgow, Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Ken Burns, John Baldessari, Truman Capote and Sylvia Plath.

Students are recognized with Gold Key, Silver Key and honorable mention awards.  In 2014, students in Harris County earned 630 awards in writing and 957 awards in art. Total entries into the regional competition were 2,381.  Regional judges are both local and national art and writing professionals who volunteer their time.

“We are extremely proud of our Harris County teens and continue to showcase their talents locally and nationally,” said Harris County Department of Education regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards coordinator Melba Kent. “With the help of area volunteers who value young artistic talent and area sponsors who contribute to regional scholarships, we are able to continue to grow our program.”

Gold Key winners in both art and writing advance to the national level of judging in New York City.  Winners are invited to receive awards and scholarships at Carnegie Hall, where they also gain the opportunity to participate in artist workshops.

For a complete list of 2014 area winners and celebrations, go to .


Media Contact:

Carol Vaughn, Communications/Media Relations Manager

Communications and Public Information

713-696-0756, office

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